By Chris Gionta
The Springfield College baseball team lost both ends of its doubleheader against Clark University on Sunday afternoon by a score of 8-5 in the first matchup and 8-7 in the second.
The two teams played a total of four games against each other this weekend. This was a quick change of pace for the Pride, as before this weekend they had not played since March.
“The most positive [thing] was that we got to play,” said head coach Mark Simeone. “It was the first time we played in five weeks, so that certainly is a positive. I think over the weekend we sometimes played like we hadn’t played in five weeks.”
After 34 days without a game, the Pride played 32 innings this past weekend.
“We’re fatigued mentally and physically,” said Simeone. “Because we haven’t done something like this in a very long time. And that’s not an excuse, that’s just a reality.”
In the first game, each team was shut out for the first three innings. In the fourth, Clark drew first blood with an RBI single. After the bases were loaded with two out in that inning, Ian Benoit relieved John Daley of his duties and ensured that one run would be the only charged to Daley when he struck out the final batter of the inning.
The offense began to erupt in the fifth inning. Clark scored four runs to make it a 5-0 game, but Springfield answered back very quickly. Cadin Maynard and Jack Simonetty strung together back-to-back extra-base hits to put up the Pride’s first run of the day. Immediately following that was a Joe Traversa single to drive in Simonetty. After a lineout, a Traversa stolen base and a Conor Santoianni single, Michael Barrett hit an RBI single to make it 5-3. What followed was a flyout and a double steal, then a wild pitch in which Santoianni scored to bring Springfield within a run.
In the top of the sixth, Clark came back with three more runs to go ahead, 8-4. In the bottom half of the inning, Maynard and Traversa each had extra-base hits and added another run to the board to make it 8-5. Unfortunately for Springfield, that was the last run scored that game for either team, giving Clark the 8-5 victory.
The Pride’s second game starter was someone making their collegiate debut, Michael White. He was one of six Springfield pitchers to step on the college mound for the first time. Nick Ruffler, Jack DeGirolamo, Joe Hutchinson, Colby Welch, and Shamus Biggs, along with White, all made their collegiate debuts on Sunday.
“I’m sure it was exciting, a little nerve-wracking, potentially for some,” said Simeone. “But, it’s an important step.”
In the first inning of the second game, each team scored one run. After a scoreless second inning, Clark took the lead with two runs to make the game 3-1. That was when Hutchinson was brought into pitch for the Pride, and he closed out the third inning without allowing any inherited runners to score. Then, he pitched a scoreless fourth inning with two strikeouts. Welch relieved him to start the fifth inning, and he continued the scoreless trend through that inning.
In the bottom half of the fifth, Joe Penkala took one for the team to start the frame, and eventually advanced to second base on a failed pickoff attempt. Later on in the inning, he was driven in on a Noah Bleakley double to make it 3-2.
The next inning, Clark scored five runs, with the final two being scored on a home run over the left field wall. But, as was the case in the first game of the doubleheader, Springfield was able to answer back with an offensive barrage of their own. Simonetty and Noah Diamond singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth. After a flyout, Jack Cooney reached on an infield hit to load the bases. Next, Penkala drove in two runs on a double to left field. Following that was an Andrew McCarty sacrifice fly, and then Bleakley reached on an error that brought in Penkala to make the score 8-6 with Clark still ahead.
After Anthony Ponticello put together a 1-2-3 inning, Springfield had one last chance to give themselves a win for the weekend. With one out, Simonetty reached on a walk, then Diamond reached on an opposite-field base hit. After a flyout, Simonetty was driven in on a Jack Cooney single to make it 8-7. This put Springfield up with two out and two on in a one-run game. But, Clark was able to close it out on a flyout to center field.
As the season is abruptly winding down, Springfield looks to send off its seniors properly this upcoming week.
“We just reminded all of our guys out in the meeting out there that we got some guys that are five days away from their career ending,” said Simeone. “It’s a close-knit group, and we got a lot of good teammates. I think we’re going to have a good week because they care about those guys that are finishing their career this week, and I think we’re going to lay it on the line and play our best baseball next weekend.”
The team will finish out its season on May 1 against Emerson in a doubleheader at Archie Allen Field starting at 12 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Joe Arruda